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What to do in the event of a car accident

Date: 10 January 2017   |   Author: Daniel Puddicombe

Car accidents can happen to anyone at any time, in many shapes and sizes, and sometimes when you're least expecting one to occur.

It is important to know what to do if you're caught up in one - from a minor scrape to a full-write off.

granitekitchen details a number of things to remember in the event of an accident. 

Stop - even if it's a minor scrape

Failing to stop after being involved in an accident is an offence under the Road Traffic Act; you can be fined up to £5,000 and have between five and 10 points added to your licence.

Once stopped, switch off your engine and put on the hazard warning lights. Although it is not required by law in the UK, it is recommended you place a warning triangle by the roadside to alert other road users to your presence, especially at night.

Phone the emergency services

If anyone has been injured in the accident, you need to phone the police as soon as possible, while the law should also be phoned if the incident is blocking the road, or if you feel you were a victim of a 'crash for cash' scheme.

Details, details, details

When you're involved in an accident, you're required to give your name and address to those who were also involved in the accident.  

You should give your details to the relevant person/people if you crash into something on or near to the road, such as a parked car or someone's garden fence.

If possible, you should also collect names and information from any drivers involved or witnesses to the accident.

Accident 2

We'd also recommend taking photos of the scene and drawing diagrams depicting what happened to help explain the accident to your insurance company.

Should someone leave the scene of the accident without providing details, phone 999. You are also required by law to report accidents to the police within a day of them occurring, otherwise fines and penalties could be imposed.

Contact your insurance company

Failing to inform your insurance company within the time period set out in the policy may invalidate cover. These periods can be anywhere from two days to weeks after the event, so check carefully.

Even if you're not planning on making a claim, you will still need to tell your insurer, as they may need to update your policy.

If you had an accident with another car.

. You will need to provide the following information to your insurance company as soon as possible in order for the insurer to process your claim.

  • The other driver's name
  • Their details
  • Their vehicle registration number
  • Their car insurance informatio

It is also advised to give as much information as you can, including details for any witnesses, any images you may have taken of the accident or sketches to help explain what happened to you.

Details on the road conditions and weather, plus anything abnormal about the lighting should also be provided to your insurance company in order to provide more detail about the accident.  

Technology to help you out

A dashcam could be a wise investment, as they are able to automatically record as you drive along, and will save footage to a memory card should an accident occur.

It may also be worth investing in a crash kit - which includes a pen and a pencil, a camera, a tape measure and pre-drawn layouts which can help motorists draw scenes - to help record what happened.


Manufacturers such as Vauxhall and BMW also offer car accident management services, whereby when an accident is detected by the car, it will either emergency services automatically, or put you through to an advisor who will check you're OK.

Additionally, from April 2018, all new cars sold in Europe will be required to be equipped with eCall technology, which can automatically call the emergency services and communicate the exact position of the car, accident details and the time of the crash.